The hour was late when young Frodo awoke. He was not one to sleep in
and Primula had finally wakened him for elevensies. Bilbo was
dozing in the chair by the fire when Frodo entered the room he look a
bit dazed until he remembered that Bilbo was visiting. Frodo
climbed to his place at the table and looked at the food before him his
stomach rumbled in response.
He ate and ate until he could hold no more and Primula was
satisfied. She adored the lad but he rarely ate so much and she
was glad. His eyes were alight with excitement and she knew the
cause for it and she was happy for him. Esme and Saradoc would
return today and Frodo's fears would be driven from him finally.
Primula knew he did not quite believe that the couple was returning for
he did not understand where they had been. But the crisis had
passed and he know knew they would return he had helped make ready for
"When Mum? When will they be here?" He asked repeatedly and
no matter how many ways she said it the answer was not enough.
Bilbo awoke in time to finish up elevensies with Frodo and now sat
speaking with the lad.
"How about a walk Frodo? Time will pass more quickly." And
with that he arose and took Frodo's hand and escorted him out of the
kitchen. Frodo was happy it was plain to see and Bilbo smiled at
his excitement. It bothered him a bit that the lad really had no
one his own age to play with. Only Reginard Took came to play
occasionally and Lotho Sackville-Baggins was no longer welcome in
Brandyhall. The lad had done well with out any age mates but
still his closest friend were adults it didn't seem right somehow.
"Perhaps in Hobbiton he could have some friends". Bilbo pondered still
it was a days journey and he was still young he could not come to stay
with his old Uncle. Frodo would make due he would make friends
wherever he went. He was impossible not to like. The two
wandered aimlessly but not far as was usual Frodo did not want to miss
He heard it first the whisper of a tune on the wind. Frodo
stopped short and tilted his head listening. Bilbo watched as his face
changed from question to joy to pure delight. His full lips
pulled into a mischievous smirk. The expression was so delightful
Bilbo laughed aloud. The next instant Frodo was gone off at a run
sprinting toward the sound of his friend and Cousin Saradoc. He
could not yet see him but he knew that around the corner he would see
him and Esme too.
The couple walked hand in hand speaking together and Saradoc would
intermittently start whistling. He knew who would be the first to
greet them he didn't have to even think about it. It would be
young Frodo he always had a sense of timing that was uncanny.
"And the little imp would want to be spying for us." he thought
affectionately. He and Esmeralda Brandybuck his bride had missed Frodo
terribly he was a daily part of Saradoc's life and Esme hoped hers
too. They were bound by tradition however and tradition dictated
they be secluded for at least 10 days after the wedding. Still
they had not said a proper farewell to the lad and they felt badly for
His heart leapt and Esme squealed in delight as they saw him. It
was, as Saradoc had known it would be Frodo alone coming to greet them.
Even with the distance between them he could see the bright smile on
the lads face. He held no anger in his pure heart just joy at
their return. The fact sobered him, such a pure soul he had never
thought of him as such but even his mischievous antics were pure
hearted. The child did not have a mean bone in his body.
He was running now Chestnut curls blowing and bouncing in the
wind. Eyes bright and shining and a smile to rival the sun he
approached them. Saradoc and Esmeralda stopped and just watched
him. How could they do otherwise he was so…Words escaped them and
they could only stare at the enigma that ran toward them. Frodo
Baggins left no question as to how he felt about the two. He
leapt full speed into the air and into Saradoc's arms. The silence that
followed was enough to let all know that the feelings were just too raw
Esmeralda was the first to break the silence. She stood next to
the two locked in an embrace. She reached out and touched Frodo's
back rubbing comfortingly. "There now lad can I get some of
that?" Frodo pulled back from Saradoc wiping his face on his
sleeve and smiling through tears he leaned over into Esme's arms and
held tight. "You won't leave me again will you Esme?" he asked
with a raspy tear choked voice.
Esmeralda looked up at her new husband tears starting in her own
eyes. They had indeed hurt him he nodded looking a bit tearful
himself. "No Frodo, we'll not leave you again. She hugged
his slight frame tightly to her and kissed his soft curls inhaling the
sweet smell of childhood. Some day perhaps she would have her own
little boy but if not she would be content to love this one child her
Frodo suddenly grew restless in her arms and squirmed free. He
jumped down between the two and grasped their hands. Come on I'll show
you your rooms I helped unpack for you. His tone took on a
measure of pride, as did his posture as he led them toward Brandyhall
and their new life together.
The trio rounded a bend in the road to find Bilbo sitting on a rock
waiting for them and smiling, humming a tune. He grinned all the
more at the sight of little Frodo leading his cousin by the hand.
Dragging him would perhaps be more accurate a description he thought to
himself. Frodo could be demanding in his enthusiasm, no one
minded his excitement was usually contagious. Bilbo stood with out a
word and joined them as they headed back to the Hall. Frodo was
speaking at an amazing speed Bilbo had never seen the lad so
animated. He was giving a detailed day-by-day accounting of
events while the two were away. He was already up to day 6 and he
showed no sign of stopping. Saradoc and Esmeralda just smiled at
him and let him go on. There was no point in telling him that
they had only been 5 minutes up the road and knew much of what went on
in spite of their isolation.
They arrived at the door to the common room at Brandyhall and all that
were gathered looked up and waved called a welcome to the couple.
Some even applauded to which Esme blushed and held tightly to Saradoc's
hand. Frodo continued to walk and stopped when they did not
follow immediately. He stood patiently waiting for them quietly
staring taking in the scene.
They stood closely together as they never did before. And Saradoc
held Esme protectively they looked like his parents. Married…is
that what it means? He wondered to himself about it. It was a
word used when hobbits were together but more than that. His
young mind had trouble with the concept. These were his same dear
friends that he knew weeks ago and yet now they were not. They
were…he lost the thought as his Mum came up behind him kneeling.
"What is it Frodo" she asked and he turned to her bright eyes full of
questions and excitement. "I don't know," he answered. He
shrugged and smiled and allowed his Mum to pick him up. "Have
they seen their rooms yet luv?" she asked him. Frodo shook his
head and she walked over to the couple and kissed her cousins
gently. "Come now you two you must settle in and Frodo here
wishes to show you to your home." She put him down and he was off
the three adults following close behind. Through the wide
corridors of Brandyhall he led them. He opened the doors and
At last his friends were home together.
The couple was taken by surprise by their new home and by their little
cousin's joy at showing them the things he had helped arrange.
Frodo's enthusiasm was contagious and Esmeralda Found she was
overwhelmed. She sat quietly on the edge of her chair and smiled
and wept then laughed and cried again. It truly was a homecoming and
Frodo made it so much more special.
Frodo stood before her now gazing up into her face with his penetrating
blue eyes. She looked back and smiled at him. He wore a
worried expression and confusion was apparent in his face. She
was confusing him she knew it but her emotions were so labile she could
scarce make sense of them let alone explain them to her young
cousin. He stood with his hands on here knees leaning in close to
her. She could smell his warm slightly sweaty skin as he closed
in on her to see what was wrong. "Yes Frodo, what is it dear?"
"What's wrong Esme, don't you like your house?"
"Oh love it's lovely but you know how grown ups are, silly and weepy and all, I'm just so happy I don't know what to do."
Frodo climbed up into her lap and leaned into her shoulder his hair
tickled her nose and she chuckled. "Just hold me Esme, I missed
you." She wrapped her arms around him and held tight weeping
again. Was there any other hobbit child that was so sweet and
special as the one in her arms now? She and Saradoc had discussed
Frodo many times and year-by-year they agreed he became nearer and
dearer to their hearts. Neither could quite grasp exactly what it
was about him but Frodo was part of them and no matter what he always
would be. If they had 10 little ones of their own Frodo would be
no less important to them. He was just that way his spirit was
such that is shown through sometimes but whether or no they would
always love Frodo Baggins.
Saradoc stood watching the scene taking it all in. He loved
watching her with Frodo it always made him feel like having children of
their own would be a wonderful prospect. But the feelings of love
he felt for his young cousin was sometimes countered by a feeling of
fear for him. Now was one of those times, He looked hard at Frodo
he could never get a handle on the anxiety he felt. A fear of
loss and of hurt surrounded him yet there was also a great strength
protecting the lad. The thoughts came unbidden to him and he did
not speak of it. He never had told anyone not even Esme of his
fear and anxiety over Frodo. He wondered if this was what is was
like to have a child of ones own. The worries that all parents had must
be very similar to the feelings he now had. But somehow he knew
that was not quite the case, Frodo what is it about Frodo…He wished to
protect him and shelter him from the hurt and pain that he would endure.
Saradoc shook his head…It was there again just beyond his reach he
could not grasp it. What pain, suffering this was the Shire after all
nothing of consequence had happened in the Shire for an age at least
since old Bilbo went away and came home again. He shuddered and
he knew that traveling had some part in his fears and yet it was not
Esme brought him out of his thoughts as she rose holding a now sleeping
Frodo hanging relaxed in her arms. She kissed his brow and laid him on
the small sofa and covered him with a blanket. She walked to her
husband and wrapped her arms around him. "There is no other like
him in all the Shire is there my love?"
"No other Esme, no other" he said and they stood watching him as he
slept as fair as an elven child and as peaceful as a spring morning
indeed Frodo was one of a kind.